The Hungry Wanderers

Eating and exploring our way through the world

Sydney – Downtown and Circular Quay.

Posted by gingerbreadpirate on March 12, 2010

Harbour.tifFor those of you who don’t know, my brother lives in Sydney.  He moved there shortly after the Olympics in 2000, and has managed to stay.  I have never had the money and the time to go see him.  Last year, the Wife and I agreed that we needed to start putting away some money and banking some time off work, so we could go visit him, and see Australia.

Well, we’re here.  After what seemed like an interminable flight, we finally landed in Sydney.  It was hot, humid, and quite frankly, the airport reminded me of any other tropical third world country, except the immigration officials all spoke English natively.  I could tell that it wasn’t a fair observation, even at the time, but to be honest, I was a little punchy from the long flight, they had recently had tremendous rain, immigration was packed with hundreds of people, and the customs line was ridiculously disorganized.

We finally got to my brother’s house in the Sydney suburbs.  We relaxed and just decompressed for several hours, which was heaven in and of itself.  It wasn’t until the next morning that we ventured into the city.  While hanging out at his house was fun and relaxing, heading into the city was wonderful.  I have never seen a city that was so clearly a mash of colonial architecture and Western culture.  It was fabulous.

First we swung down to pick up our rental car.  Then we headed over to find a parking spot.  Parking in downtown Sydney wasn’t too hard on a Sunday, but it certainly wasn’t easy.  I was pretty surprised at how expensive parking was.  As it turns out, most things in Sydney were more expensive than I was expecting, but parking was just my first exposure.

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Once we were parked, we started hiking around.  The Wife and I love to walk around big cities.  Everywhere we looked, there were big, old, pristine colonial buildings, and beautiful old churches.

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The next pictures were taken in a mall, but the building was originally the large government building.  It’s called the Queen Victoria Building, or QVB, and it’s what’s called “Heritage Listed,” meaning that it is protected as an historic building.  A builder can buy, occupy, and renovate the building, but may not make any changes to any structures that are “heritage listed,” which may include internal or external walls, windows, floors, or ceilings.

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IMG_3294From there, we headed across the downtown to the botanical gardens.  They are large, and have a tremendous view of the harbor, in addition to all the flowers and trees.

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IMG_3374Just outside the botanical gardens, is the famous Sydney Opera House.  It is, in fact, a stunning building, but it was smaller than I expected.

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IMG_3390A face only a mother could love.

IMG_3415 As you round the Opera House, you come to quite a view of the Sydney Bridge.  We thought this was probably a good place to get a picture of us.

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IMG_3413Then we rounded Circular Quay (where the convicts were first placed in Australia), and headed up toward the Rocks (behind the building on the left in the picture above) for a quick bite and a cold pint.

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We had a nice table next to a market.  There’s no glass in the window, so this is an open-air pub.

IMG_3422 Definitely pub food.IMG_3429

My brother ordered us “snake bites.”  A local brew, served with a raspberry liqueur, giving it and its head a distinct red hue.  It was very tasty.

IMG_3428 We also ordered an order of potato wedges.  We were hungry after hiking around the city, and needed a little something to tide us over until dinner at the house (kangaroo steaks).  Interestingly, the potato wedges were served with cream cheese and a sweet-spicy chili sauce.  It was a bit odd, at first, but it really had a fantastic flavor! IMG_3431

After the pub, we were exhausted, and needed to get back to the house while it was still light (this was my first day driving on the left, and I wanted to drive back while it was light).  So we called it a night, and headed back to his place.  A couple days later, we went to Darling Harbor, which I’ll post another post on later.

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